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Headlines for Monday, July 10, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Secretaries of State Meet, Kobach Absent

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Elections officials from around the nation say they are puzzled by the absence of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach from a weekend conference. Kobach is the co-chair of a White House voter fraud commission that's investigating allegations made by the President Trump that there were millions of fraudulent ballots cast during last November's election. California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said that it's "awkward, to put it mildly" that Kobach opted against attending the National Association of Secretaries of State conference in Indianapolis. Kobach sent letters last week to all 50 states requesting voter information, including dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, addresses and voting histories. The request drew indignant responses from Republicans and Democrats alike. Padilla, a Democrat, said that if Kobach was serious about working with states to improve the integrity of U.S. elections, he would have attended the conference. A spokeswoman for Kobach did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Westar, Great Plains Announce New Plans for Merger

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy have announced a revamped plan to merge after Kansas regulators scuttled an earlier deal. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that the deal announced this (MON) morning would form a utility with a combined equity value of about $14 billion. The move comes after the Kansas Corporation Commission denied the $12.2 billion sale of Topeka-based Westar to Kansas City, Missouri-based Great Plains Energy in late April. Regulators cited concerns about a high price, the capital structure, merger savings and Kansas job retention, among other issues. Under the new deal, each share of Westar Energy could be exchanged for a share in the new company. Great Plains shares would be worth about 60 percent of a share in the new company. No transaction debt would be incurred.


Lawsuit: ICE Negligent in Case of Man Charged in 5 Killings 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Federal immigration officials are being sued by the families of two people who authorities say were killed by a Mexican national in the U.S. illegally. The lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Kansas, alleges Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials negligently allowed Pablo Serrano-Vitorino to stay in the country illegally before he allegedly killed four people in Kansas and one in Missouri last year. Serrano-Vitorino is jailed on one count of first-degree murder in Missouri. He also faces four counts of first-degree murder in Wyandotte County, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports that the lawsuit says Serrano-Vitorino re-entered the U.S. after being deported in 2003. The families claim he was released from Kansas jails in 2014 and 2015 after federal immigration officials didn't follow procedures and missed chances to detain him.


Cerner Co-Founder, Neal Patterson Dies at 67 in Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The health care technology firm Cerner Corporation says its co-founder and CEO, Neal Patterson, has died. Cerner said in a statement that Patterson died Sunday at 67. The statement said that Patterson died of unexpected complications from a soft-tissue cancer for which he had been treated previously. The company's vice chairman and co-founder, Cliff Illig, has been named chairman and interim CEO. Patterson and Illig had worked closely together during the 38 years since they co-founded the North Kansas City-based company. Illig described Patterson's death as a "profound loss" in a statement. Patterson said frequently in his last public appearances: "What we do is hard. It isn't easy." The company has about 12,800 workers in the Kansas City area and about 24,000 worldwide.


Some Kansas Cities Closing Water Slides in Response to Law

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Kansas pools and water parks are closing their water slides after a new state law tightened regulations on amusement park rides. The law, which took effect July 1st, was passed after a state lawmaker's son died last summer on the Verruckt water slide at Schlitterbahn water park in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas City Star reports the law defines a water slide as an amusement ride if it is at least 15 feet tall and uses water to propel someone through the ride. Erik Sartorius, head of the League of Kansas Municipalities, says the law is unclear on several issues. Water slides have closed in Chanute and the Roeland Park Aquatic Center. 


Person Injured in Fall Likely Trying to Jump Between Bridges 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Authorities say a person who suffered critical injuries after falling 25 feet was likely trying to jump a gap between two bridges in Kansas. The Topeka Capital-Journal reports the male was transported to a Topeka hospital Sunday evening with injuries that are considered life-threatening. He's believed to be between 17 and 20 years old. Topeka Police Lieutenant Aaron Jones says the male victim likely thought he could land safely or that there was something to catch him. Jones says investigators don't believe the victim intentionally jumped off the bridge, but that he may have been trying to jump between northbound and southbound bridges along Kansas Avenue. Police say witnesses reported calling 911 after watching the fall. Jones says witnesses described him as "happy go lucky."


Kansas City Driver Killed in Vehicle Was Apparently Hit by Gunfire

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities say a Kansas City driver has been found dead inside a vehicle that apparently had been hit by gunfire. Kansas City police said in a news release that the driver was unresponsive inside the vehicle when officers responded early this (MON) morning. Kansas City firefighters responded and declared the person dead at the scene. The name of the victim has not been released. Police are urging anyone with information to call a tips hotline.


State Transfers Ownership of Trails Museum to Independence, Missouri

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (AP) - The state of Missouri has turned over ownership of the National Frontier Trails Museum to the city of Independence. Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed a bill transferring ownership to the city of Independence which has operated the museum since it opened 27 years ago although it was owned by the state. Independence City Manager Zach Walker says the building needs structural repairs. Other renovations and a possible expansion also are being discussed. The museum chronicles the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails in the decades before the Civil War. It also highlights the Mormon Trail and the Lewis and Clark journey of 1804-06. Independence officials pushed for the change during the last legislative session, saying the city couldn't be expected to spend money to update a museum it didn't own.


Wichita ID Theft Suspects Caught With 429 Job Applications

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A search warrant shows authorities are investigating two suspected identity thieves found with a box filled with hundreds of Dollar Tree job applications apparently obtained by going through trash dumpsters in Wichita. The warrant was filed recently in U.S. District Court in Kansas. It outlines the investigation into two people who were caught in possession of employment applications for 429 people as well as forgery tools. Some of those applications included copies of driver's licenses and Social Security cards. Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree said in an email that it's committed to safeguarding personal information of its workers and job applicants. The discount store chain says it has specific processes in place to support this commitment. The company says it's investigating the Wichita incident. Dollar Tree has 10 stores in Wichita.


Kansas Wheat Harvest Almost Finished

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) _ The latest government snapshot shows the Kansas winter wheat harvest is almost complete. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 93 percent of the wheat has been cut. That is near the 89 percent reported a year ago as well as the average for this time. The agency says warm, dry weather helped aided harvest progress. Other field crops in Kansas are also making progress. About 3 percent of the soybeans in the state are now setting pods. Four percent of the sorghum has headed. About 36 percent of the corn is now silking. The agency rated corn condition as 10 percent excellent, 51 percent good and 31 percent fair. Another 8 percent is in poor to very poor condition.  


Kansas Man Sentenced for Theft from Store Where He Worked

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ A Kansas man who admitted he stole more than $275,000 in merchandise from a store where he worked. Federal prosecutors say Craig Sullivan, of Olathe, was sentenced Monday for wire fraud. He also was ordered to pay full restitution. In his plea, Sullivan admitted he stole the items...primarily Garmin GPS devices...while working for Garry Gribble's Running Sports, which has five locations in the Kansas City area. Sullivan oversaw merchandise arriving at the main store in Overland Park and distribution to the other locations.  Sullivan said he sold the items to a buyer in California via Craigslist. The buyer used PayPal to send Sullivan 51 payments totaling $275,780.  


Chiefs Promote Brett Veach to General Manager

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ The Kansas City Chiefs have promoted co-director of player personnel Brett Veach to general manager. The appointment was announced Monday, about 2 and a half weeks after Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt surprisingly fired John Dorsey, their GM of the past four years. Head coach Andy Reid's contract was extended that same day. Veach has begun his fifth season with the Chiefs, having spent his first two years with the team as a pro and college personnel analyst. He started his career in the NFL in Philadelphia, with three seasons as the assistant to Reid and three more as a scout for the Eagles. The Chiefs will introduce Veach at a July 24 news conference. Veach, a native of Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania, was a wide receiver and kickoff returner in college at Delaware.


Woman Charged with Will Doctoring Set to Go on Trial in Fall 

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A former caretaker is set to go on trial this fall on charges alleging that she doctored the will of her western Kansas employer to make herself the primary beneficiary of his more than $20 million estate instead of the Fort Hays State University Foundation. The Hutchinson News reports that the federal mail fraud trial for Wanda Oborny is set for November 14 in Wichita. Oborny is free on $25,000 bond. She was indicted in January after an Ellis County District Court ruled that the valid will for Earl Field is the one bequeathing most of his wealth to the foundation. A legal fight erupted when Oborny said she found a letter shortly after Field's 2013 death that said he'd decided to give most of his estate to her.


Passenger in Stolen Truck Flees After Fatal Kansas Crash 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - Authorities say two people died when a stolen pickup truck crashed in Kansas City, Kansas, and a survivor then fled after stealing a vehicle from another driver. The Kansas City Star reports that at least five people were inside the truck when it crashed into a tree shortly before 1 a.m. Sunday. Police said that when a motorist stopped to help, a surviving passenger in the pickup stole the woman's vehicle. The thief remains at large, although the woman's vehicle has since been recovered. Two other people in the stolen pickup were taken to a hospital with critical injuries. The names of the people killed weren't immediately released. The wreck remains under investigation.


Founder of Home Mortgage Company James B. Nutter & Co. Dies 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The founder of home mortgage company James B. Nutter & Co. has died at his Kansas City home of complications from diabetes. Nutter's son, James B. Nutter Jr., said in a statement on the company's website that his father died Friday. He was 89. He founded the Kansas City-based company that bears his name in 1951. Nutter Jr. said in a statement that his father taught his family "not only how to be honorable and fair in business, but how to listen to, and learn about people from every country, culture and religion, and to have compassion for every living thing, whether on two legs or four." Nutter also was a political donor and philanthropist. Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said in a tweet that Nutter had a "very big heart."


Overland Park Man Drowns at Lake of the Ozarks

VERSAILLES, Mo. (AP) — A 25-year-old Kansas man has drowned while fishing at the Lake of the Ozarks over the weekend. The Missouri State Highway Patrol says the family of Connor Mohr reported him missing Saturday morning after he was fishing at a dock and didn't return. Mohr was found in the water near the dock after a brief search.


Dodgers Beat Royals 5-2 for 3-Game Sweep 

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Dodgers' ace Clayton Kershaw tossed a six-hitter to become the majors' first 14-game winner, LA's Justin Turner homered twice, and the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Kansas City Royals 5-2 on Sunday to complete their major league-best 10th sweep and sixth straight victory. The Dodgers head into the All-Star break owning baseball's best record of 61-29. They've won 18 of their last 19 at home, where they lead the majors with a 39-11 mark. Kershaw (14-2) allowed two runs and six hits on 99 pitches, struck out 13 and walked none to set the Dodgers' record for most wins at the break. The All-Star left-hander, who won't pitch in Tuesday's showcase in Miami, is 10-0 over his last 13 starts, all Los Angeles victories. He allowed a run for the first time in four outings. The Royals' Danny Duffy (5-5) gave up five runs and six hits in seven innings. He struck out nine and didn't walk anyone.

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